What is the Story behind Advent?
By Karen Riobo
Advent is a period of preparation to receive the Messiah through prayer, penance, almsgiving, and hope. Advent comes from the Latin Adventus, which means "coming"; We ready our hearts to receive Jesus, The Light of The World. For four consecutive Sundays, we remember the first coming of Our Saviour and announce His second coming.
Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 ( Feast of St. Andrew) and marks the liturgical year's beginning. Through Advent, the Church allows the faithful to start anew. It marks a new beginning!
What is the Story behind Advent?
According to the Catholic Apostolate Center, the advent tradition dates back to the 4th Century. The Church in France used the period before Epiphany as a time of preparation for Baptism. It was initially called "St. Martin's Lent" for the 40 days that started on November 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours. This is why Advent feels like Lent, but it is not.
It wasn't until Pope Gregory I in the 7th Century composed many prayers, antiphons, and psalm responses. The Roman Advent Season is the closest to what the Church celebrates today.
Why is Advent important, and why do we celebrate it?
Advent is essential because we refocus our lives on Jesus, the King of Kings. He is the Alpha and Omega; everything starts and ends with Him. Advent provides an opportunity to order our lives and begin again with Jesus shedding light into the darkest places in our hearts and invites us to strive for Holiness throughout the new year.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us in numeral 524: When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease."
The first portion of the First Sunday of Advent until December 16 is preparation for Christ's second coming. Gaudete Sunday marks the midpoint of the season and invites us to rejoice, for the Lord is near. The second portion from December 17 to 24th directly prepares us for the commemoration of the first coming of Christ. His birth in Bethlehem.
Advent is important because we need to continue to work on our conversion and personal growth in Jesus Christ. It announces a new beginning. We decide to start the New Liturgical Year with enthusiasm and renewed commitment.
Reflecting on our journeys with Christ can make Advent meaningful. There are several traditions like the Advent Wreath and literature to guide us and inspire us. Let us ask ourselves...How can I make this Advent season better for my family and me?
The liturgy and our Advent acts of preparation remind us of God's great plan of Salvation for us. Let us keep our hearts and lives disposed to transformation in joyful hope and patient waiting during this season of Advent.
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